FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — “October 7th, 1922, my dear mother started me on this journey,” said Dottie Dee, born in New Haven. This remarkable woman has lived through history.
“Somehow or other I ended-up here,” she said.
And that’s 100 years young, living life as a trailblazer.
“We all were striving for the same thing, peace,” she said.
In 1943, Dee was on of the first to enlist in the brand new US Marine Corp Women’s Reserve during World War II.
“Everyone was doing things and looking out for each other, it was a whole different world,” she said. “I went in and I didn’t have a gun but I had a type writer.”
Dee did physical training at Parris Island, South Carolina and ended-up at Camp Miramar outside San Diego, California.
“We sent the Marine with the sea bag with him and the sea bag would come back without the Marine and that haunts me to this day,” she said.
After the war ended, Dee attended New York University, becoming a medical assistant.
“This was my husband, he was in the Airforce,” she said, pointing to memorabilia spread out on her dining room table.
The tiny spitfire has easily adapted to the modern world.
“I’m on Instagram – on WhatsUp,” she said, laughing, as she corrects herself to say WhatsApp.
She still occasionally dons her uniform.
And, Dee can’t resist a joke when asked, “What’s next?”
“Wash my windows! I love to wash windows!” she said with a laugh.
But the mood turns serious when we speak of the war in Ukraine.
“I am sad and I have tears in my eyes,” she said.
It’s one of the reasons this great-grandmother feels her work is unfinished, even though friends and family just flew in from around the country to celebrate her incredible life.
“Just in awe of the people who did come to see me,” Dee said.
She said there’s no secret to her longevity because life itself is a mystery.
But Dee’s compassion keeps her caring and curious, aware that we can’t just cling to the past…we must look forward.
“I always say when people say, ‘Thanks for your service,’ ‘It was an honor and privilege to serve our country,'” Dee said with feeling.
And when told she’s done so much, she responded in true Dottie style.
“I haven’t washed all the windows yet,” she said with a laugh and a twinkle in her eye.
Dee, a big believer in education, said it was her greatest joy when her six grandkids graduated from college.
She told them our choices craft our lives.